Poirier in ‘Biggest Fight of His Life’
In what he considers to be "the biggest fight of his life," Dustin Poirier is set to meet former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 211.
Poirier admits that a showdown with a former champion has him motivated to a new all-time high, as he believes a win over a former champion like Alvarez would put him in line for a shot at incumbent UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.
He feels unsure if Alvarez has the same thrill of sharing the cage with him.
"A win over Eddie Alvarez would put me right there fighting for the title," Poirier said on an appearance with MMAJunkie Radio (via MMANews). "He might not have the same motivation he had on his climb to that belt. I know this — this is the biggest fight of my life, and Eddie’s probably thinking it’s not the biggest fight of his life. I don’t know what’s going on with Eddie, but I hope he’s busting his ass."
Originally a lightweight, Poirier moved to featherweight when he debuted with the UFC at UFC 125 on New Year’s Day 2011. After a loss to Conor McGregor — in his road to the face of the UFC — at UFC 178, Poirier returned to lightweight and racked up four straight victories. That was snapped with a first-round knockout loss to Michael Johnson in September, but Poirier bounced back with a majority decision victory over Jim Miller at UFC 208, a bout that earned Fight of the Night honors.
The UFC lightweight division is stuffed with talent from top to bottom in the rankings. As of March 25, Poirier is ranked No. 9, while Alvarez is ranked No. 3. No. 1 Khabib Nurmagomedov and No. 2 Tony Ferguson were originally scheduled to meet for the interim title at UFC 209, but the fight was scrapped after Nurmagomedov had a bad weigh cut that required hospitalization. Sandwiched between Alvarez and Poirier, in order, are: Rafael Dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson, Michael Chiesa and Nate Diaz.
McGregor is currently on hiatus — dealing with the upcoming birth of his first child, his demand of a meeting with the UFC’s owners and a potential crossover superfight with Floyd Mayweather. When McGregor’s future is more certain, there will be some order restored, as there would be a true prize for lightweight fighters’ eyes to be on.
But for now, Poirier just wants to win against Alvarez and position himself within the title picture.
"[A win] would put me at 6-1 in the lightweight division with a win over the former champ," Poirier said. "It’s not like I’m a guy who just stumbled into the top 10…I’ve been in title eliminator fights before at featherweight. I’m not a new guy to the block, and I’ve been putting in work. [Alvarez] was just a champion. If I go out there and put a stamp on Eddie Alvarez, I think I’m one win away."
UFC 211 takes place on May 13 from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.